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Return on Intention Episode 16 – the Hire a Journalist episode

January 19th, 2011

Return On Intention Episode 16 – the Hire a Journalist episode

- NOTE: Something went wrong with the podcasting plugin I have been using, and I just didn’t have the time to fix it, so this episode is a bit behind – sorry

In this episode Daniel Lyons, programmer and all around smart guy talks with Reid Givens about:

  • Clay Shirkey and Riddley Scott – getting more done with a lot of small contributions
  • Community driven business models
  • Reddit ask for money
  • Pushing your agenda on your customer – intentionally or not
  • the small business killer – expanding past the owner
  • The siloing identity crisis
  • The flat world and our R & D Crisis
  • The small business innovation conundrum
  • Commodity
  • Business Centers – go to where the top is
  • Where did the writers and journalists go? – web development
  • The downside of democratized access to publishing – the noise to signal ration just went through the roof
  • The new local celebrity – just change the definition of local
  • The takeaways – pay attention and hire a journalist

Running Time: 56 minutes 52 seconds.

Comment email - comments {at} reidgivens {dot} com

Be Careful What You Wish For

September 29th, 2010

Return On Intention Episode 15 – The Fuzzy Episode

July 28th, 2010

Return On Intention Episode 15 – The Fuzzy Episode

A blast from the past joins us in this episode. Ramon Garcia (or Roman Gorca as he is sometimes known) joins me to talk about the importance of Mission, Vision, Values and some of the other “Fuzzy” topics in business. Ramon was heard on episode 1 – 10 of this podcast, and although this is only episode 15, there was a large gap between episode 10 and 11.

In this episode we discuss the virtues of the fuzzy side of business, and it effect on employees, management and customers. Listen to find out why it may be some of the most important parts of a successful organization.

Running Time: 42 minutes 24 seconds.

Comment email - comments {at} reidgivens {dot} com

Return On Intention Episode 14 – Bad Ads and Dieing Facebooks part 3 of 3

July 19th, 2010

Return On Intention Episode 14 – Bad Ads and Dieing Facebooks part 3 of 3

In this episode Daniel Lyons, programmer and all around smart guy talks with Reid Givens about:

  • Is Advertising inherently bad, or did we just screw it up?
  • When ads are ok and when they aren’t
  • Advertising does not equal marketing
  • This is not a post marketing era – its a post advertising era
  • What do you compete on?
  • We want to know when we are being advertised too
  • Facebook is the bathroom wall
  • Purchase mediums are not all created equal
  • The ipad is more than just a bigger iphone
  • Trying to make a difference in a commodity business – iNetu.net
  • The official leave Facebook movement and its impact
  • We all have it, and it ain’t goin’ away – email
  • Preview of why “the cloud” sucks

Running Time: 56 minutes 52 seconds.

Comment email - comments {at} reidgivens {dot} com

Return On Intention Episode 13 – Complacency part 2 of 3

July 14th, 2010

Return On Intention Episode 13 – Complacency part 2 of 3

In this episode Daniel Lyons, programmer and all around smart guy talks with Reid Givens about:

  • Complacency – its not just a technology problem
  • Why do somethings win and somethings fail
  • Free, Simple, Chance, Rumors and other means of competition
  • How do your new customers pick you? It may not be Times are a changin’
  • Does fast moving technology change who you should listen to?
  • Who should be in the lead – digital shops or ad agencies?
  • If everything changes every 2 years, who’s a master at anything?
  • The new war online – splitting the groups and standards The circle of life on the web
  • Where does the next big thing come from?
  • Conversion rates and Ad supported revenue models
  • iAds – overprices or reaching better customers
  • The promise of social media – did we miss it?
  • Facebook tried … and failed, but who’s fault was it?
  • Pandora – algorithms, ads and revenueFunnels, permission marketing where the focus is
  • Is advertising bad, or do we just do bad advertising?

Running Time: 48 minutes 46 seconds.

Comment email - comments {at} reidgivens {dot} com

Return On Intention Episode 12 – HTML5 and Flash part 1 of 3

July 7th, 2010

Return On Intention Episode 12 – HTML5 and Flash

In this episode Daniel Lyons, programmer and all around smart guy talks with Reid Givens about:

  • Apple (HTML5) vs. Adobe (Flash)
  • Designers, Programmers and SEO
  • complacent superpowers
  • Making money on the “Free” Web
  • Apples “Private Internet” – itunes
  • the app store and its weird policies
  • where are the dev shops in all this
  • iphone / ipad apps store vs androids marketplace
  • Blame the music industry
  • Technology, Developers and the tipping points

Running Time: 56 minutes 29 seconds.

Comment email - comments {at} reidgivens {dot} com

Why English Muffins are better than Bagels, and how to know what to post on Facebook and Twitter

July 1st, 2010

As more companies become familiar with the existence of social media and the success stories given at just about every conference held, it has become very common to hear “I would use Facebook / Twitter / Whatever, but I just never know what to say.” This problem was the cause for so many people posting “I like pickles” or “I had eggs for breakfast” on Twitter in the early days as they tried to figure out what to say. Often this lack of knowing what to post is a symptom of something bigger than understanding a new medium. Often its based on the organization not really understanding their uniqueness or their brand promise and how it fits into its customers lives. To put it another way, they don’t really understand where they fit into their market. If you make English Muffins, a product that hasn’t really changed in decades, what could you possibly have to post on Facebook? Plenty.

english muffinFirst – a little back story. I have this terrible habit of working late into the night… or morning… depending on how you look at it. After working past midnight a few times, getting up in the morning becomes a bit harder, so you sleep an extra hour to make up for the one that you worked through the night before. Now that you get up an hour later, you don’t get tired and go to bed when you used to and you have to wait an extra hour before you can go to sleep. Follow this path for a while and pretty soon you work until 3 or 4 in the morning and get up at 10:00.  This has been my life off and on for the past few years. This caused me to not eat breakfast anymore because after getting showered, dressed and ready for the day it was nearly lunch time. On days when I had meetings in the mornings and had to get up at a normal time I still couldn’t eat breakfast because it would make me feel ill, so I hadn’t had breakfast in years.

Recently I have been working to switch my waking hours back to a schedule that more closely resembles normal human times. Now, after being awake for a few hours, its breakfast time, not lunch time. This has presented me with the joy of breakfast food shopping and tasting, which has probably been way more fun than it really should have been. So now, after about a month of testing I have decided that English Muffins are better than bagels. Why? The nooks and crannies.

The crumb of an English Muffin are airy and full of little pockets that hold flavor. Every bite is a bit different as some of the little pockets are filled with butter, and others with raspberry jam. A bagel with cream cheese pretty much tastes the same in each bite, but an English Muffin is just a bit different. Bagels don’t have nooks and crannies. The crumb of a bagel is pretty smooth, which makes it more like most other breads. You can make interesting sandwiches with a bagel, but you can make all the same sandwiches with any other bread. The biggest difference between the English Muffin and just about all other breads you would eat for breakfast is the pocket filled crumb. This key differentiator not only makes the English Muffin a unique looking morning snack, but it also makes the taste and experience of the Muffin a unique one with the butter or jam that fills up the pockets. The point is that the English Muffin is not just about the English Muffin, but is part of my morning experience that works in concert with other factors to bring me satisfaction. When brands can stand back and see how their products and services fit into the bigger picture of their customers lives they can see how their unique features stretch beyond themselves and influence the user. With this data, the brand can start to see a bigger picture, and thats when the ideas for what kind of conversation to have with their market start to perk up like a pot of fresh coffee.

The Red Cross, Haiti and Getting Results. How does your planning stack up?

February 9th, 2010

There is no shortage of stories about the tension between short term and long term goals. There is a constant struggle in organizations to try and balance the two. For profit and public corporations seem the worst hit by this dilemma due to pressures to constantly grow and produce ever more profits, but non-profits and social organizations have the same issues. The bulk of the major mistakes that companies run into is by optimizing for one of these goals, and ignoring the other. As Jim Collins and Jerry Porras pointed out in Built To Last, the right answer in this situation is never thinking about the OR, but taking the time to figure out the AND. Instead of deciding what is the best set of goals to deliver on are short term OR long term, the right answer is the one that can accomplish the short term AND long term goals.

The tragedy in Haiti is a great example of this problem. The Red Cross has done some really amazing things to mobilize a mass of people to raise funds for this problem. In a catastrophe like this, the short term goals have to be the major focus, after all, lives at stake. There was also plenty of media coverage about the use of social media and mobile technologies to raise an incredible amount of money for the relief efforts, but what doesn’t get much attention is that the amount of money raised, while impressive, is no where near the amount of money needed to create a good long term solution for Haiti.

This is not a criticism of the Red Cross or their efforts, the money that was raised so quickly (from what I have heard) has brought in enough food and clean water to provide for the victims. The next faze of this recovery is the hard part, and the really expensive part. The infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt (or built at all) will cost billions, not millions of dollars. Raising that much money is going to take more than can be raised through text messaging in a a month. The real problem is that there is no way that a plan can be put in place that can take into account everything needed for a crisis like this. Its impossible to know when something like this will happen, but it is known that something like this WILL happen again. The fund raising efforts for catastrophes of this scale have to be in place for years, not to mention a plan to help mobilize and coordinate the various agencies required to deliver aid in these situations.

The need for the AND solution for long and short term results seems clear for organizations of all sizes to deliver on the value they add to the world. It takes a lot more work, and some creativity, but the payoffs are worth it in the end.

Return On Intention Episode 11 – ipad and esmokes

February 9th, 2010

Return On Intention Episode 11 – ipad and esmokes

In this episode Daniel Lyons, programmer and all around smart guy talks with Reid Givens about:

  • Music
  • International you tube band
  • Disintegratable media
  • Story telling and Bias In Media
  • Differentiation, emotional baggage and customer loyalty
  • Is Microsoft making strides toward better products?
  • Apple, Tablets and ebooks  oh my!
  • the esmoke… not the ismoke, the esmoke
  • special K, cereal and value branding
  • Google, Apple, Experience + expectation

Running Time: 1 hour 18 minutes 30 seconds.

Comment email - comments {at} reidgivens {dot} com

How much story is in your story?

February 2nd, 2010

Once upon a time in a kingdom far away, there was a mighty river. This river was the sole water source for the kingdom, and had been flowing for generations. One day the water stopped flowing, and the king summoned the bravest knight in the kingdom to the castle, Sir Steve the Noble. The King dispatched Sir Steve to go up the dry river bed to find out what had happened. Sir Steve traveled for days and nights until finally finding that a dam had been built, stopping the water. Sir Steve destroyed the dam, and the kingdom lived happily ever after.

As stories go, that wasn’t very exciting. There is something missing. Lets try that story again and see if we can make it better.

Once upon a time in a kingdom far away, there was a mighty river. This river was the sole water source for the kingdom, and had been flowing for generations. One day the water stopped flowing, and the king summoned the bravest knight in the kingdom to the castle, Sir Steve the Noble. The King dispatched Sir Steve to go up the dry river bed to find out what had happened. Sir Steve traveled for days and nights until finally finding that a dam had been built by non other than the Duke of Darkness. The dam was guarded by hoards of the Dukes minions. Sir Steve, knowing that his chances for victory we’re slim, charged ahead into battle without hesitation. Sir Steve knew that without water, the kindly village people of the kingdom would suffer. With the faces of the village children pictured in his mind, Sir Steve battled through the minions until there was no one left standing except for himself, and the Duke. There, in the middle of the dam, an epic battle raged between the Noble knight and the evil Duke. Back an forth the swords flew, only to be stopped still with a clang as it landed on armor and shield. For hours the battle between the two men raged, until with the last of his strength, Sir Steve struck the fatal blow to the Duke of Darkness. With the villain gone, and the safety of the kingdom in hand, Sir Steve destroyed the dam and the kingdom lived happily ever after.

Ok, so I’m not much of epic story writer, but I think its clear the second attempt was much better than the first. Both stories have the same set up an the same conclusion, but the second allow the reader to become more emotionally invested in the outcome for two reasons. 1.) There was a villain; and 2.) Details about what the protagonist is thinking and feeling. The addition of the villain gives the audience something to focus its attention, and disdain on. A good protagonist is one that the audience can either identify with, or at least root for. The audience needs to get on the side of the stories lead, and in order to do that, you need to know why the protagonist is doing what he’s doing.

So much of marketing today is about story telling. The story could be  about the founding of an organization, or the triumph of a product. To get the idea across to the audience, its going to take more than the  just the facts. Look at the story your telling. Who is the protagonist, and what is the conflict? What is at stake, and who is the conflict with? Why should the user care, and how do you get them on the side of your protagonist? How much story is in your story?